Olly Lennard looks at the private lives and career paths of some of your most cherished childhood icons. This week: Scooby & Shaggy.
Norville “Shaggy” Rogers and his Great Dane Scooby Doo first met in 1969 when one found the other abandoned in a skip outside Wendy’s in Coolsville, Ohio. How Shaggy came to be in the skip is the subject of much apocryphal literature.
Regardless, what followed was a raging career success: over the years Mystery Inc. put thousands of criminals behind bars, and despite being taken to court for intellectual property theft by the Ghostbusters, reaped substantial profit. Their meteoric rise to fame was the subject of the program Scooby Doo, the longest running documentary series in television history.
But the success of the gang hid darker occurrences. Shaggy would often mention to his friends that Scooby was capable of speech, but this was dismissed fervently as harmless joking. It took many years for the truth to be revealed, by which time the damage was done.
Not long after joining the gang Shaggy had developed a serious drugs problem; as early as 1973 he was addicted to “Scooby Snacks”, a methamphetamine similar to ecstasy. Scooby’s “speech” was actually a recurring hallucination that eventually became a full-blown schizophrenic break with reality.
It is still unknown whether this was a result of snack addiction or whether the drugs had exacerbated a pre-existing medical condition, but by 1985 it was clear that Shaggy was deteriorating. The original Scooby Doo had been killed when Fred backed over him with the Mystery Machine, but Shaggy persistently saw the deceased canine everywhere. A therapy puppy that the group purchased to help him cope with the loss, dubbed “Scrappy Doo”, only worsened his condition and also proved to be toe-curlingly irritating.
In October of 1987 Shaggy, aged 47, was sectioned for his own health when he physically assaulted an elderly man who was dressed as a ghost for Hallowe’en, trapping him in an elaborate net device. He spent the next eighteen years in a secure hospital still suffering from potent delusions of paranormal beings, which eventually became the storyboard of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Shaggy was released in 2005 on anti-psychotic medication, having been weaned off his addiction to Scooby Snacks with methadone and Oreos. He spent the declining years of his life penning the aforementioned screenplay before being killed in a hilariously ironic yet harrowingly tragic incident involving a rollercoaster, a hot dog stand and a waxwork model of the Loch Ness Monster, whilst on a trip to Alton Towers in 2009.
A memorial plaque was erected outside Coolsville Town Hall bearing the epitaph “Zoinks!” and, in accordance with his wishes, Shaggy’s ashes were scattered into a very tall sandwich.
As for the rest of Mystery Inc., Daphne Blake and Fred Jones eventually married, but divorced in 1993 when Fred was sent to prison for driving the Mystery Machine through a playground whilst inebriated, killing five. Unable to cope with the loss, guilt and faced with constant persecution by inmates he had helped to put away, Fred took his own life while in jail.
Velma Dinkley was the only member of Mystery Inc. to achieve success: her autobiography, Jinkies!, was a commercial hit, taking top spot on the Amazon bestseller list from Papa Smurf’s Fifty Shades of Blue. Now at the age of 72 she is a household name and earlier this year appeared at number three in a Cosmopolitan list of “World’s Most Famous Lesbians”.
Olly Lennard is a second year comedian and actor.